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A tete-a-tete with Dev Anand

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By: Ali Peter John, IndiaFM
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Come September 26 and Dev Anand, the man who has been relentlessly defying his age and time will be 84 years young (that's the only way to describe him). Dev, the dynamo who has dedicated 63 active years in films as an actor, producer, writer, director, studio owner and a living legend which is a record for any individual involved in the quicksand, fickle and ever changing world of film entertainment anywhere in the universe, is still as dynamic, dedicated, determined, full of life and forever ready to face the challenges of the changing times at a time when other men his age have faded away, have been forgotten and become a part of history. Dev who believes in his one line poetic philosophy which says; "har fiqr ko dhuven mein udaate chala gaya" is a saga, an institution, an unbelievable phenomenon without whom the history of the Indian films will be incomplete. He has seen life and time changing. He has seen empires rising and falling. He has seen stars soaring to the sky and falling to the ground. He has rubbed shoulders with kings and queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers, Philosophers and Poets and the people from different parts of the world. He has never let success go to his head and has never allowed failure affects him and the moving spirit keeps reaching higher and higher. On the eve of the his birthday he talks with unbridled excitement about the first international film he is about to start in Croatia, his autobiography which he has just completed and future is what matters to him. Just before taking off for Croatia to finalize details about the film and which he will start and complete in one schedule he talks to SUPER CINEMA about how it feels today.

How do you feel on your 84th birthday?
I have really never sat down to think and feel about my birthday. I know it is a great feeling but I frankly never had tome to celebrate my birthday. I have been busy all the time. It seems like only yesterday when I started as a young man full of ambition and dreams. God has been kind to me to keep me active and working all the time. There has not been a moment when I have been working without stopping, and when you are on your toes and your mind is furiously ticking with ideas there is just no time to think about birthday and anniversaries. My work is my greatest celebrities and everyday that I work is like one more birthday for me.

But there must be some moments when you must be thinking about what life has given to you and what you have been able to gibe back to life.
Yes, we have had a wonderful relationship, life and me. Life has given me all the opportunities to explore, to adventure, to dare and do things which very few people can. And I have never disappointed life. I have taken up all the opportunities and made the best of them. I am sure our relationship has grown richer with time and I know the relationship will keep growing stronger because of our mutual respect for each other. I respect life and time and they have never failed me.

What do you think about think about success and failure?
I have never gloated over my success and I have never let failure stop me from chasing my dreams. I know I have not seen big success as a filmmaker for some time now but that doesn't stop me from working better and meeting newer challenges. I never think about failure because if I had, I would be nowhere and nobody today. I have always believed in putting across my ideas and I am happy that they reach people. Success and failure are part of life. I have this inborn stride.

How do you react when people say Dev Sahab Ki Filmein chalti nahi?
I don't react the way people expect me to. I believe that every man has a right to have his own opinion but that doesn't mean that their opinions can change my ambition and stop me from doing the things I want to do.

How do you mange money? That is one question everyone keeps asking when they think about you.
I don't know how people have the time to think about my problems when the fact is that I don't have any problem with money. I know how to mange the financing of my films. I have never cheated. I don't over-spend. I don't owe any money to anyone. I have given money its importance and money has never become an obstacle in my way. Money comes to Dev because Dev knows to treat it. And even if I am in trouble Dev (God) above makes arrangements to see that my ambitious don't suffer because of the lack of money.

What about your latest plans? What are you busy doing this birthday?
I am busier than I ever was. I was giving the final touches to my new script for a film called Chargesheet after Mr. Prime Minister when I got a call from the Croatia Ambassador in India. He said he wanted to meet me. He flew down to Mumbai. We had a long talk at the end of which he invited me to visit Croatia. I grabbed the opportunity. I flew to Croatia and I was flabbergasted by the reception I got. It was a red carpet welcome all the way. I was introduced to the highest dignitaries. The country and its people fascinated me and at the end of my visit I was asked to make a film in Croatia. I again grabbed the offer. I came back and worked on a script and was charged about making the film. It was going to be a love story between a young man, an NRI and a girl from Croatia. It was also about a great relationship between a father and his son. I play the father.

 What about the other cast?
I am flying to Croatia to find the most beautiful girl of the country to play the leading lady. The boy will have to be a known star from India. I am very excited about being the first Indian filmmaker to be invited by another country to make a film of my choice. I will be exposed to a whole new world because Croatia is surrounded by places where some of the leading film festivals are held. I will be shooting there while some of these festivals are on.

What about Chargesheet?
It can be made at any time. It is a one schedule film to be shot entirely in Mahabaleshwar, my favorite hill station.

There are some new changes being seen in your studio?
Yes, I am going through a complete renovation of my studio, especially my recording studio. It has been already fitted with the latest equipment in the world and my studio will be the first in Asia to have the kind of facilities no other studio can offer.

What about your autobiography?
I have completed writing it. I have spent days and nights on it. I myself cannot believe that I have written more than 2000 pages in my own handwriting. I will have to edit it myself. There are some of the best publishers in the world who are interested in publishing it. I know that it will be a very exciting and engrossing book because I know my life has been like that. I have seen so much in life that I found it difficult to include everything in one book but whatever I have will be the subject of one of the most exciting books about one man. This is not a boast. It is a fact.

You have been working without a break for more than 60 years. Have you ever thought of taking a vacation?
Where is the time for a vacation? There is so much to do, so much still to explore and experiment. One lifetime is not enough, then where is the time to even think of a vacation for Dev. There are no vacations for Dev, only work till Dev can never work any more.

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